A group known as the Concerned Employees of the Phoenix VA has issued a letter Sunday containing a list of veteran suicides at the hospital, as well as the specific lapses in care which led to veteran despondency.
After giving several examples of abysmal failure at the Phoenix VA, the group decided to lay it all out on the table in a single bold pronouncement, according to the letter, obtained Tuesday by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The Phoenix VAMC is the worst VA medical center in the country. It is an embarrassment to those brave men and women who have served who try to get care here … Can you imagine getting the courage to go to the Phoenix VA after hearing the horrible but true stories day after day over the past two years?”
“Below are a small sample of veterans who have committed suicide … Please look at their obituaries, look at their faces,” the letter continued. “This is what happens right here in Phoenix when veterans are lost in a broken system and administrators lie to cover it up much harder than they do to try and first admit there is a problem but then actually fix it.”
Concerned Employees want veterans at the Phoenix VA who committed suicide never to be forgotten and for their lives to mean something.
The first veteran on the list is Antouine Castaneda, an Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He died by gunshot on July 23, 2015, after the Phoenix VA failed to check on him, even though he was clearly listed as high risk. The Phoenix VA additionally did not provide him with proper mental health care.
The second is Andrew Hawley. Like Castaneda, he killed himself by gunshot. The suicide occurred on October 14, 2015. The Phoenix VA did not provide care for major depression.
Raul January committed suicide on October 13, 2015, again by gunshot. Though he was sent to the Phoenix VA, staff never provided him with a mental health appointment.
Thomas Murphy, who served in the Navy, died on May 10, 2015. He left a note blaming the Phoenix VA for cutting off his pain medications and refusing to help him with any substitutes.
Phoenix VA whistleblower Brandon Coleman sent the letter over to the Office of Special Counsel and asked for independent agencies to conduct an investigation into wrongdoing.
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